http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CladeA clade (from Ancient Greek: κλάδος, klados, "branch") or monophylum (see monophyletic) is a group consisting of an ancestor and all its descendants, a single "branch" on the "tree of life". The ancestor may be an individual, a population or even a species (extinct or extant).
I think classical history is able quite easily to become far more 'scientific' by doing some borrowing.
Studying fossils is all about comparing and contrasting and slowly building up a huge jigsaw that spreads now over billions of years.
I see no reason why similar methods should not be used on ancient documents. The sophistication of data mining and audit tools is now very impressive.
Using the key terms, for example sophia, spirit, angel, prince of light, emmanuel, use of nomina sacra, why is there not an agreed clade diagram?
I want to talk with you a bit about The Ancestor's Tale. What made you want to write a book that was more general than your other works, that encompassed ground that you've previously covered?
It doesn't really cover previous ground. I've never written about the actual detailed facts of evolutionary history before. My previous books have all been attempts to make evolution easier to understand, to make theory easier to understand. This is the first book that really lays out the detailed facts of evolutionary history.
In doing so, you took an unconventional approach, starting with humans and moving back in time to the origins of life. What were the challenges of that approach?
Well, it was a bit difficult, because history obviously does go forward, and the language of narrative tends to move forward. So there were slight problems there. I think it was worth it, because if you do your history forwards, it looks as though evolution is aimed at the endpoint. And if the endpoint happens to be humans, as it is likely to be—because we are human and we are most interested in humans—then it looks as though history were aimed at humans from the start, and that's positively wrong. The advantage of going backwards is that you always come to a climax at the origin of life, no matter where you start. So that was the rationale for doing it, but it did of course present some problems.
In the introduction, you explain the rationale for using Chaucer's Canterbury Tales as a model, and you describe aspects of The Ancestor's Tale that correspond to it. Literature uses many mythic themes and allegories. What should be the place of myth and religion in literature, and in the internal life of man, as opposed to science?
I occasionally use the imagery of religion because it's part of our culture and because you can't understand literature without it. It's something that's deeply built into everybody's consciousness in the English-speaking world, so to use religious imagery, whether it's from Chaucer or from the Bible, resonates with people. I'm not sure I understood your question.
http://www.americanscientist.org/booksh ... rd-dawkins